Summer Reading: Six Big Media Stories You Should Catch Up On This Weekend

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So, Memorial Day Weekend!

Whether you spend the next few days lounging around poolside, beachside or parkside, it’s the perfect opportunity to catch up on some reading.

We recommend finally getting around to a few of those long magazine pieces you’ve been meaning to tackle.

You know, the ones that everyone on the Internet starts blogging about so you click through, but then you realise they’re 7,000 words and you tell yourself you’ll get back to them later because you have all this work, but then you never do.

Well, now’s your chance!

Here are six big media pieces you should read this weekend in between barbecues >>

Published: May 18, 2010

Synopsis: Former Jezebel and Gawker (and Business Insider) writer Maureen Tkacik chronicles her media disillusionment in the cover story for the May/June issue of the Columbia Journalism Review.

The lede: 'When I was nineteen and chose to accept the creeping suspicion that I would turn out to be a writer and, by extension, chronically deficient of funds, I made the fiscally prudent decision to drop out of school. I still worked on the college newspaper to which I had sacrificed so much of my grade-point average, writing a weekly gossip column until a brother in the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity threatened to sue over an item I'd written about his alleged screening for his fraternity brothers of a video he'd filmed of himself having sex with his girlfriend. The threats spooked the editors of The Daily Pennsylvanian into suspending the column entirely. This did not bother me, as I thought I had more substantial work to do.'

Keep reading >>

Published: May 4, 2010

Synopsis: Sarah Ellison excerpts her new book, War at the Wall Street Journal, in the June issue of Vanity Fair, focusing on the ousting of managing editor Marcus Brauchli and 'how quickly and brutally the hope of the paper's old regime died.'

The lede: 'As the sun poured over the dingy blue carpeting in The Wall Street Journal's ninth-floor newsroom, the New York bureau chiefs gathered around the conference table, with the foreign and domestic chiefs listening in on speakerphone. Flanked by his deputies, Marcus Brauchli was prepared to outline the paper's latest direction under its new owner, Rupert Murdoch.'

Keep reading >>

Published: May 10, 2010

Synopsis: Andrew Rice takes an in-depth look at online journalism entrepreneurs and new media business models in The New York Times Magazine. The piece focuses on Lewis Dvorkin's True/Slant and Sam Apple's The Faster Times.

The lede: 'Last year, Sam Apple got the idea into his head that what the world needed was a new kind of newspaper. This was, to put it mildly, at odds with the consensus of the marketplace. At the time, several large media companies were in bankruptcy, others were trading at penny-stock levels and analysts were seriously asking whether some venerable publications -- including this one -- might soon cease to exist. The recession was only worsening a fundamental problem: the industry's physical product, printed paper, was going the way of the rotary phone, and no one had yet figured out how to generate comparable revenues online. But Apple, a 34-year-old writer, wasn't ready to give up on journalism as a profit-making enterprise. He began telling friends about his plans to start a Web publication called The Faster Times.'

Keep reading >>

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